For many people in Russia today, everyday life appears to be a series of traps. According to C. Wright Mills in The Sociological Imagination, this sense of being trapped arises from seemingly impersonal changes sweeping across the structure of societies. The facts of such macro processes as ”building socialism” or ”transition” are also the facts of the successes and failures of individual men and women. Mills was convinced that the sociological imagination can help us grasp history and biography and the relationship between the two within society. Doing this for Russia is the challenge and promise of this book.
This study is an attempt to subject Soviet and Russian society to sociological analysis by focussing primarily on three domains in which social structures and the personal problems of individuals are intertwined: power, classes and cultural structures. At the same time, the analysis provides new impulses to critical sociology by shedding new light on the Russian heritage in the leftist tradition and, in so doing, by challenging all forms of left-wing fundamentalism.